|(U-WIRE) FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Members of the
Campus Democracy Collective performed an ad-hoc theater piece to protest Disney's use of
sweatshop labor at the Disney corporation's college recruitment session at the Reynolds
Other UA students, not
affiliated with the CDC were thrown out of the session for asking questions related to
Disney's use of sweatshops.
Tied together with a rope, six members of the CDC
performing as dwarfs, along with "Mickey" performed "the Seven Dwarfs go to
the Third World," to demonstrate how the products made by and for the Disney
corporation is are actually made in front of the Reynolds Center.
The dwarfs, named Overworked, Underpaid, Forced
Birth Control, Child Labor, Once a Labor Organizer now just Bloody and Stumpy along with
"Mickey," who wore a pin saying "I love sweatshops," sang a parody of
"Hi Ho" while walking in and around the Reynolds Center.
"Hi ho, hi ho, for pennies a day we sew, and
if we ask for higher pay, it's out the factory door we go," they sang, periodically
stopping to give their individual performances.
The individual performances culminated when
"Mickey" said, "I love sweat shop labor; let's start a union."
The protesters were banned from entering the
building by the UAPD.
"The building is still private property and we
can keep them out," said Sgt. Greg Foster of the UAPD. "We don't want to
infringe on their rights to say what they want, but we have to keep them out of the
"It's OK," said the dwarf Overworked.
"We've been locked out of factories before."
Several other students, who wish to be referred to
by their aliases, were asked to leave for asking questions about Disney's possible use of
Special Agent Oncomouse inquired whether there
"were internships available for the women in Haiti who work pennies an hour."
A campus representative immediately said that this
wasn't the proper forum and that they would have to leave.
Special Agent TS-1 responded by calling the three
Disney representatives "robots hired to get cheap, educated janitors and soda jerks
for your theme park."
"Another name for the Magic Kingdom is the
city of lies," he said.
On their way out of the auditorium, Special Agent
TS-1 said "humans one, robots zero!" Then, they donned antenna made of aluminum
foil, beeped like robots and ran from the building.
The Campus Democracy Collective is a Registered
Student Organization at the UA that works to promote democracy and social justice on
campus and in the surrounding community.
The Campus Democracy Collective and the other
students contend that Disney is known to have or had sweatshop factories in places
including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and China.
A report was published recently by the Hong Kong
Christian Industrial Committee concerning an extensive, eight-month study of four Disney
factories in China. The report showed that Disney-contracted factories routinely violate
both Chinese labor laws and Disney's own Code of Conduct for Manufacturers with respect to
overtime, pay and contracts.
Disney has been named by several organizations
including the National Labor Committee, which broke the story of underpaid child workers
making "Kathy Lee" signature clothing for Wal-Mart, as a sweatshop company.
Andy Burns, a member of the CDC, said the
organization is performing in solidarity with the workers of these Disney sweatshops by
locally educating citizens concerning Disney's sweatshop practices.
Holly Hoffman, one of the Disney representatives,
responded to the protests through a corporate statement.
"I'm not an expert in this area," Hoffman
said. "I'm here with the Walt Disney World college program to share the opportunities
we offer with the students.
The Disney statement said: "The Walt Disney
World Company shares the concerns of the Mennonites over the welfare of workers in
factories used by its licensees in Haiti."
It is because of these concerns that Disney
requires all licensees, manufacturers and producers of Disney-related products to comply
with a rigid Code of Conduct that strictly prohibits the use of "sweatshop
labor" or other exploitative conduct.
"To ensure that the company's Code of Conduct
is adhered to, Disney has engaged two prestigious independent agencies, Cal Safety and SGS
International, to monitor these factories. Disney has also sent its own inspectors to
Any individuals or groups who have information
about violations of Disney's Code of Conduct are encouraged to contact The Walt Disney
Company so the matter can be investigated and appropriate action taken.
"These reports show that Disney is doing
nothing about its practices," Special Agent Oncomouse said of the reports regarding
The session had a raucous beginning, with the Hog
Wild Band and the inflatable Boss Hog "showing what spirit we have at the UA,"
an organizer of the event said.
Most of the 100 or so attendees seemed undeterred
by the protesting.
One student stood up when Special Agent TS-1 was
speaking and said that they "we're ruining what we have come to see."
The three Disney representatives spoke about the
opportunities and showed films for nearly three hours. Hoffman said that Disney
"represents family values and things that I think are right."
"What I'm saying comes from the heart,"